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Rio Tinto H1 Underlying EBITDA Up; Sees FY Pilbara Shipment At Upperend Of Range

Mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RTNTF,RIO,RIO.L, RTPPF) reported Wednesday that its first-half net earnings were $4.38 billion and underlying earnings were $4.42 billion.

Underlying EBITDA for the six months increased 2% to $9.2 billion. Margin was 43%.

The company reported that strong aluminium and copper prices were partially offset by lower iron ore prices. The company recorded strong sales in iron ore, copper and aluminium.

In the first half, Pilbara shipments of 168.8 million tonnes, on 100% basis, were 9% higher than last year, reflecting ongoing productivity improvements being made to the rail network, along with increased flexibility across the infrastructure system.

Pilbara FOB EBITDA margin was 67%, down from 69% a year ago. Pilbara cash unit costs of $13.4 per tonne declined from $13.8 per tonne last year.

The company said copper & Diamonds underlying EBITDA was $1.36 billion benefited from stronger copper production and higher prices.

Looking ahead, fiscal 2018 shipments from the Pilbara are expected to be at the upper end of the existing guidance range of 330 million tonnes to 340 million tonnes, subject to market conditions and any weather constraints.

Further, the company announced interim 2018 returns to shareholders of $3.2 billion. Interim dividend of $2.2 billion or 127 US cents per share will be paid in September 2018.

The company announced additional share buy-back of $1.0 billion in Rio Tinto plc shares by the end of February 2019.

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